At Bekaert Textiles, corporate responsibility is an essential part of the company's basic values and is deeply rooted in the corporate culture. Assuming responsibility means offering safe, high-quality products and ensuring that business activities are environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Under the leadership of the management, an interdisciplinary team prioritises and initiates CR projects along the entire value chain. Bekaert Textiles bases these activities on the seven key topics of the ISO 26000 guideline for socially responsible behaviour: human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, community development and organizational governance. The company publishes further information on its commitment to sustainability on the website at www.bekaerttextiles.com.
Working together to reduce waste
30,000,000 – that is the number of mattresses that are incinerated or thrown to landfill each year in Europa alone. This is equivalent to around 450,000 tonnes of waste a year. Bekaert Textiles has decided to tackle this problem and has launched an innovation project: Together with industry partners, the mattress fabric manufacturer has set itself the challenge of making a contribution to the cradle-to-cradle principle in the bedding industry. How do mattresses need to be produced to make them more recyclable or compostable at the end of their useful life? How can raw materials be recycled cost-efficiently? Are consumers willing to pay more for “green products”? Answers to these questions are being sought and found in this project. After working together for 18 months, the result was two prototypes: a mattress made entirely of recycled materials and another than is entirely compostable. The latter mattress is made of biodegradable raw materials and, among other things, adhesives are not used in the manufacturing process. The prototype has passed the test: if it is cut into pieces, the mattress biodegrades fully after twelve weeks in an industrial composting plant.
Bekaert Textiles can use the expertise gained in the project when advising customers and can support mattress manufacturers that are looking for die comprehensive solutions for more sustainable products.